Gary (Gal) Dove is an ex-villain who has served his time and is enjoying a blissful retirement in Spain's Costa del Sol, with his adored wife DeeDee. He is content to spend his days in the sun, drinking beer beside his swimming pool, watching his Spanish pool boy, Enrique brush the dust away, while his wife shops for designer labels with her friend Jackie, an English blonde who lives with Gal's pal Aitch.

One day, whilst Gal is relaxing on his sun terrace, a huge boulder rolls down the hill above the villa and lands in the middle of the pool, drenching Gal and cracking the pool tiles. As DeeDee arrives home, Gal is instructing Enrique to arrange a friend to remove the boulder.

This sun-drenched idyll is threatened by the arrival of Don Logan, an associate of Gal's from the old days. Don is putting a team together for the ultimate heist - the robbery of a bank's safety deposit boxes, masterminded by glamorous arch-villain Teddy Bass. Don wants Gal on his team, ignoring protestations that he has retired, and assuring him that the job is foolproof.

Don tries every angle: he cajoles Gal, he bullies him, and he threatens him. Eventually, when he begins to malign DeeDee, reminding Gal of her past as a porn star, Don realises he has gone too far. Gal turns on him and accuses him of using the job as an excuse to see Jackie, for whom Don has admitted he carries a torch. Don makes a hurried exit and takes a taxi back to the airport.

Although unhappy and seemingly unstable, Don appears resigned to Gal's refusal to do the job. On board the plane he refuses to extinguish his cigarette before take-off and is removed from the aircraft. He is kept in custody by Spanish officials for several hours, inventing a story of sexual harassment by an air steward to explain his behaviour. He is released and arrives back at Gal's villa as the two couples prepare for a night out.
Don is clearly disturbed and rages at Gal, eventually attacking him with a bottle. Gal's house boy, Enrique, who has been secretly observing Don and Gal for the past few days, appears with an old gun, terrified but ready to defend his employer. Don take the gun from the boy and hits him with it, knocking him to the ground. A shot rings out and Don slumps forward. DeeDee has used Gal's gun, driven to defend her man and their home.
In a frenzy, Don is set upon and killed by all of them, venting the rage and resentment which has built up over the course of his visit.

Gal returns to London to take part in the job, following the instructions given by Don. When Teddy Bass inquires about Don, Gal answers that he left Spain, and had called Gal from Heathrow on his arrival back in London. This seems to satisfy Teddy, for the moment.

Gal keeps his nerve. The heist, difficult and tense, involves breaking into the safety deposit vault via the adjoining Turkish Baths. The team work underwater for hours, before eventually breaking through the masonry to flood the bank vault. They smash open the safety deposit boxes, discovering money, drugs, jewels as well as a weird assortment of items - ashes in an urn, pornographic photos, spare limbs etc etc.

That night the gang celebrates at a private club. As Gal prepares to leave for the airport Teddy insists on giving him a lift. They stop en route at a discreet house in Kensington, where Teddy wakes the owner, Harry, Chairman of the bank they have robbed and one time lover of Teddy. Harry is bewiidered by the visit but Teddy insists on being invited in. As Harry pours a drink for Gal, Teddy shoots him pointblank in the face.

In Teddy's car Gal begins to lose his nerve, as Teddy reveals that he knows that Don never left Spain. Teddy pays Gal an insulting £10 as his share of the takings. He drops Gal off at the roadside, hinting that he may one day pay Gal a visit in Spain.

Back at the villa, Gal floats contentediy in his newly repaired pool, chatting with DeeDee and Jackie and Aitch. His idyll is restored and everything is right in paradise again.

Don, along with Gal's past, is buried underneath Gal's swimming pool.

Director's Biography

Sexy Beast marks Jonathan Glazer's debut as a director of feature films. Winner of many international awards for his work in commercials and pop promos, the director was feted by Hollywood but elected to make his first feature film about the world of the British gangster, a genre which fascinates him.

After completing a BA Honours degree in Theatre Design and Direction he began his career directing theatre, editing film trailers and making award winning programme idents for the BBC.

In 1993 he teamed up with producer Nick Morris at Academy Commercials, where he wrote and directed three short films, entitled "Mad" "Pool' and "Commission", before moving an to direct music videos and commercials. His work in the music video field includes promos for Massive Attack, Blur, Nick Cave and multi-award winning films for Radiohead and Jamiroquai. In 1997 he was named Director of the Year at the Music Video Awards and Jamiroquai's "Virtual Insanity" was nominated for ten MTV awards. Most recently his promo for UNKLE "Rabbit In Your Headlights" picked up a Silver for Outstanding Direction at D & AD as well as an MVPA award for Best Foreign Video..

Jonathan has been responsible for some of the most acclaimed and innovative commercials of the nineties which have been recognised with international awards. These include Nike "Parklife", Stella Artois, "Last Orders" and the two recent Guinness commercials "Swimblack" and "Surfer". In the Channel 4 television programme "The 100 Greatest TV Ads", sponsored by the Sunday Times, "Surfer" was voted the best advert ever by members of the public. At the 2000 D & AD awards, Guinness "Surfer" was awarded two Gold awards for the Most Outstanding Direction and the Most Outstanding TV Commercial over 60 seconds. The coveted Gold awards are very rarely awarded in any category and never in the entire history of D & AD has a commercial been awarded two.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Jonathan Glazer

Written by: David Scinto, David Scinto

Produced by: Jeremy Thomas

Cinematography: Ivan Bird

Editing: Sam Sneade, John Scott

Production Design: Jan Houllevigue

Costume Design: Louise Stjernsward

Original Score: Roque Baños

Main Cast: Ray Winstone (Gal Dove), Ben Kingsley (Don Logan), Amanda Redman (Deedee), Ian McShane (Teddy Bass), James Fox (Harry), Cavan Kendall (Aitch), Julianne White (Jackie)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Actor 2001
  • Feature Film Selection 2001